Amber Heard's Next Legal Battle May Clash With Aquaman 2 Release

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
Aquaman 2, Amber Heard

Amber Heard recently endured a long and public legal battle with ex-husband Johnny Depp as the actor sued her for defamation for an opinion-editorial piece published in The Washington Post. In that op-ed, she accused him of being a “public figure representing domestic abuse,” but the final result of the trial proved to be a resounding win for Depp, as he was awarded a total of $10.4 million in damages.

Heard's connection to the Aquaman franchise for her role as Mera ended up being entangled in the trial as spoiler-heavy plot points, pay details, and talks of a potential recast came to the forefront. Many have since begun to commit to boycotting March 2023's Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom as the divisive actress reportedly maintains around 20 minutes of screen time in the sequel.

Even in the wake of her legal defeat, Heard has stayed true to the chronology of events she portrayed in court, and has since begun to make plans for a legal appeal. Now, the actress has taken a major step forward that may end up conflicting with Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

Amber Heard, Aquaman

According to DeadlineAquaman actress Amber Heard will be replacing most of her legal team as she prepares her legal appeal for the multi-million-dollar defamation verdict she lost to Johnny Depp in June.

Heard was reportedly unhappy with her legal representation during the Virginia case, and as such replaced her lead attorney Elaine Bredehoft with David L. Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown, Ben Rottenborn will stay on board as co-council.

The recruitment of the Philadelphia-based lawyers went public on Monday, August 15, in a court filing. The actress will reportedly lean into the First Amendment for her appeal - which protects the right to freedom of speech.

The Hollywood star's newly-hired attorneys shared a statement leaning into their focus on protecting the First Amendment rights of Americans, whilst also sharing their confidence the court will "reverse the judgment against Ms. Heard:"

“We welcome the opportunity to represent Ms. Heard in this appeal as it is a case with important First Amendment implications for every American. We’re confident the appellate court will apply the law properly without deference to popularity, reverse the judgment against Ms. Heard, and reaffirm the fundamental principles of Freedom of Speech.”

The case may be back in court in front of a judge and jury when Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is playing in theaters from March 17, 2023. The controversy surrounding the case undoubtedly has the potential to harm the sequel's performance and Warner Bros. may well consider other release options due to this. 

Amber Heard's Appeal is Bad News for Aquaman 2

Between the soon-to-be resurrected Amber Heard controversy and the ongoing situation with Ezra Miller, Warner Bros. has a tough task ahead marketing its first two DC releases of 2023. Both The Flash and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom are bound to be swarmed with controversy for their divisive stars.

As Heard takes on a supporting role in Aquaman 2, compared to Miller who will appear in almost every scene of The Flash, the marketing task will prove much tougher for the speedster event. Nonetheless, with Warner Bros. already unpopular with fans after canceling Batgirl and other DC projects, the studio has a tough task ahead to preserve the brand.

Fans were already discussing a boycott of Aquaman 2 during the original Heard vs. Depp trial, but that was expected to die down by the time the 2023 release came around. With the actress' controversy coming back to the forefront right around the planned release, Warner Bros. may end up shifting the date slightly further away from the legal battle to avoid negative press.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom hits theaters on March 17, 2023. 

- In This Article: Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
Release Date
December 22, 2023
- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.